mintsI have a large family, so when the holidays come around we need to find ways to keep the holidays affordable while still showing everyone that they are important to us. A great way to do that is to make gifts for one another. Sometimes I do some crocheting or make gifts like message boards, and I love to make treats for my family.  I always make some squares and cookies to give to family during the holidays, but this year I added in some homemade mints, chocolate fudge and some snack mix too! I love that we can put these treats into pretty little jars or tins and share them with our family, but I don’t think my homemade treats are what are families look forward to each year.cheesecake

A few years ago my husband learned to make cheesecake, and he was very good at it right from the beginning! He rarely makes the same cheesecake twice, but everyone knows that there will be some kind of cheesecake at our holiday gatherings (and it has nothing to do with the reminders and hints dropped) and they look forward to it. This is a strawberry swirl cheesecake that he made, and it was definitely a big hit!

This recipe is adapted from Anna Olson’s Classic New York Cheesecake recipe.

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Michael McDonald, adapted from Anna Olson
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
A rich and creamy cheesecake.
  • For the Crust….
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • For the Cheesecake…
  • 4 packages 250 gram packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup fresh strawberries, pureed
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. To make the crust, stir the graham crumbs, sugar and melted butter until evenly combined and press this into the bottom of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then cool. Brush the sides of the pan with a little melted butter.
  3. To make the cheesecake, increase the oven temperature to 400 F.
  4. Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the 1 ¼ cups of sugar a little at a time, and scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often.
  6. Beat in the cornstarch, vanilla and lemon zest.
  7. Beat in the eggs one at a time, on a lower speed, and scraping after each addition, then beat in the yolk. Still on low speed, beat in ¾ cup of sour cream. Scrape this over the cooled crust.
  8. Drop spoonfuls of strawberry puree into the cheesecake (spread out evenly), and use a knife to create the swirl effect.
  9. Bake the cheesecake for 12 minutes at 400 F and then reduce the oven temperature to 225 F and bake for 35 more minutes. Turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake in for an hour, cracking the oven door after 30 minutes. While the cheesecake is baking, prepare the sour cream layer.
  10. Allow the cheesecake to cool completely to room temperature, then carefully run a spatula around the outside of the cheesecake to loosen it from the pan, then chill the cheesecake for at least 6 hours before slicing and serving.
  11. The cheesecake will keep, refrigerated, for up to 4 days.

“Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”



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Sheri McDonald is a family lifestyle blogger who has been sharing her parenting and travel adventures online for the past eight years. You can find her discovering the world with her children when she's not at home enjoying a good book.


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